This week I’ve been reflecting on my more than a decade of writing a weekly essay. I’ve learned a thing or two over that time, not just about writing but about life in general.
This weekly ritual has made me more disciplined in that I now have something to plan for, research, write, and edit. It enables me to constantly look for insights, evaluating my point of view on topics and generally an opportunity for ongoing reflection.
Did I find writing or did writing find me is the question?
If someone would have asked anyone who knew me, they wouldn’t have had any clue that I would begin writing, let alone a weekly essay… especially for the length of time I’ve been doing it.
In fact, not only wouldn’t they have guessed but they would have likely laughed at the idea.
I’ve never been known as a scholarly type, so I’m sure it’s come as a bit of a surprise for some people, especially my family and close friends.
Not only have become accustomed to this weekly ritual, but also addicted to putting finger to keyboard so to speak.
For those of you who have been with me for this long journey, you’ll understand that my style of writing is more conversational in nature, and perhaps less formal than many writers.
But you will also note, that during this period my writing has become more fluid and accessible as I write in a simple way.
The first lesson is about brevity as I generally my essays are between 850 – 1000 words, which takes about 4 minutes to read and digest. This is important, as any longer and people tend to lose interest and not finish.
I think the second lesson is about consistency and dependability.
As you know I always publish my essays on a Friday night at 8:00 pm (EST – Canada/USA time zone). And by providing a consistent and reliable time for when I publish it means that those of you that are on my mailing list always know when to expect the email with the link.
Strangely, this is one of the questions I get asked most often – how do you keep the motivation to publish every week.
Simple – I made writing, editing, and publishing my essay a part of my weekly routine. It’s like exercising or going to the gym for me.
I identified early on that it’s important for me to write, cathartic so to speak and so now it’s been baked into my life. Sure, there are weeks where I might struggle a little for a topic, but these moments are quite rare.
Another important lesson is that the content has to be fresh and easy to read and relatable. I find that sometimes when reading some writers work they tend to sometimes make the wording too complex and accessible for the majority of people to read.
I’m not sure about you but I don’t want to spend my time straining to read something that in the end is too heavy, wordy, or filled with words and acronyms that is just too difficult to understand and digest.
I also want to read something that I can relate to in some way.
The fourth lesson I’ve learned is that variety in terms of topics is the spice of life. Mixing up the topics and weaving a number of different themes into my weekly essay helps keep people’s attention as it’s a bit of a surprise each week as to the topic and where I’ll take it.
It is important change it up, and although I often write about Zach and Sam or my travel adventures, I feel it’s interspersed with lots of other topics.
I think the final lesson I’ve learned is that we only have one life and that we have to choose to live it on our terms and to the best of our circumstance.
For me I made the conscious choice some ten years ago to live a life full of adventures and travels. Over the intervening years I’ve been able to shape the life that I’d always wanted to lead.
It comes as no surprise that constantly striving for your personal legend (thank you Paul Coelho – the author of the Alchemist) for making that plainly clear to me.
This parable really spoke to me!
In that I owned my personal destiny, and that I alone could choose to live life on my terms while seeking all that was important to me.
And that if I had the courage to do that, then I would be rewarded with exactly as I’d dreamed of. Perhaps not in the exact way, but in general terms.
The first part is for us all to understand what we want in life and be prepared to say it our loud and move toward it one day at a time. Yes, it can be a slow journey, but isn’t that where life dwells… in the journey and not in the end result?
We all know that our lives will evolve in some shape or form, but ultimately understanding what’s most important to you never changes.
To all of you that strive to live that type of life I want to encourage you to keep moving forward. Don’t give up hope, always keep dreaming!
Until next week